Take a Second Glance
In the story of Gimpel The Fool, Isaac Bashevis Singer develops his characters in such a way that Gimpel is portrayed as a symbol of a stereotype. Throughout the story Gimpel gives nothing but honesty and trust to everyone. Gimpel is in turn stereotyped and weighed down by society as a senseless fool. If he indeed were a real fool, then he would lack the insight of realizing the motives behind all the people that function in his life. "I don't think of myself as a fool (96)," and "What was I to do, I believed them (96)" were remarks that Gimpel made that fell into his two reasons for his gullibility. The first was that "everything is possible (96)," and his second was "I had to believe when the whole town came down on me (96).
The cruelty Gimpel receives is not in the form of physical abuse, yet just as harsh.
The people of the only town Gimpel has ever known treats him as if he was a child. And in many ways, Gimpel is a child, for a child is a person who is learning the ways of the world. Gimpel mirrors a child with his naive ways and goodness. The people of the town take advantage of this and played jokes on him throughout his childhood and his life as an adult.
Gimpel chooses to let every trick and every comment go without a word being said. His philosophy is to "Let it pass. So they take advantage of me." (96). This type of action demonstrates that Gimpel chooses to remain silent in order to avoid the pain of a confrontation. The idea in Gimpel's mind is that he would rather tolerate people's laughter rather than people's hatred directed towards him.